As part of the commitment, which represents a three-year extension of an existing partnership established more than a decade ago, Rotary will work to raise $50 million a year, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation. Rotary also announced funding allocations totaling $45 million in support of critical immunization and disease detection, research, and community mobilization efforts in Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan) and Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, and Philippines). While only Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to report cases of wild poliovirus, "last-mile" obstacles to global eradication, including weak public health systems and difficulty reaching children in areas of conflict, have proven challenging.
Including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, Rotary has committed more than $2 billion to polio eradication since launching its program in 1985. In 1988, in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the organization launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which was later joined by the Gates Foundation and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.
"Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, almost nineteen million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralyzed," said former Rotary International president John Germ, who now leads the organization's polio fundraising efforts. "By partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we're ensuring that children in polio-affected countries get the lifesaving vaccines they need to be protected from polio for life. As the first organization to envision a polio-free world, Rotary is more committed than ever to delivering on our promise that one day, no child will ever again be paralyzed by polio."